Posted on: January 5, 2024
Weathering big changes, the city of Mountain View eventually took a shine to 2023. The year started with an onslaught of unexpected challenges, from extreme weather conditions to a housing plan that was not on track to win state approval.
But going back to the drawing board, the city turned around its housing plan to comply with state guidelines. It also approved a slate of new mixed-use housing and commercial developments – including its largest development ever, Google’s North Bayshore Master Plan – that is expected to bring thousands of homes to Mountain View over the next several decades.
Embedded in these housing plans is a pathway for low and extremely low-income households to have a stake in the city’s future. Affordable housing units were integrated into every project, with several projects dedicated solely to housing for underserved communities.
But with the housing growth, the city also encountered some protracted conflicts with local school districts. They had concerns about Google’s North Bayshore plan, arguing that it would lead to a large influx of students without adequate tax revenue to cover the cost of educating them. The city and school districts are still in negotiations about how to fund this student growth in the long-term.
There also was conflict about the joint use of school fields, which has been governed by decades-old agreements between the Mountain View Whisman School District and the city. The two parties have been trying for years to reach a new deal, but the school district hit pause on the negotiations in 2023, prompting the city to offer an ultimatum to accept a take-it-or-leave-it version of the agreement before the end of the calendar year.
Housing was not the only development taking center stage at City Hall. The economic vitality of the downtown area also featured as a topic of community concern. High vacancy rates continued to plague Castro Street, with many storefronts and office buildings sitting empty – an issue that has not quite turned the corner after the pandemic.
Affordable housing developments
While certainly the largest, Google was not the only housing developer to make an impact in 2023. The city also advanced a slate of developments focused on affordability, with several projects on track to create units for low and extremely low-income households.
1012 Linda Vista Ave.
In February the City Council approved funding for two affordable housing projects, one located at 1012 Linda Vista Ave. and the other at 96 W. El Camino Real, the site of the Cusimano Colonial Family Mortuary. A month later, it backed another project at 1020 Terra Bella Ave., and in September the council picked Affirmed Housing to develop housing at 87 E. Evelyn Ave.
1020 Terra Bella Ave.
Combined, these projects would add more than 500 units to the city’s affordable housing stock, with a large portion serving families in two and three-bedroom apartment units.
The Terra Bella and East Evelyn developments are also notable for their location. They currently serve as safe parking sites for vehicle and RV dwellers, providing about 45% of the city’s safe parking spaces.
87 E Evelyn Ave.
With the closure of the lots, the city would no longer hold the distinction of being the county’s largest safe parking provider; although in some respects, this is part of the city’s long-term housing strategy. It never intended for parking lots to serve as a permanent solution to the region’s housing crisis, it said.
Instead, the city is continuing to plan for and build more affordable housing. And it is being helped by outside funding – like the state’s Homekey program, which converts older properties into supportive housing for the homeless, and Santa Clara County’s Measure A bond, which voters approved in 2016 to support affordable housing.
A beneficiary of both these funds, The Crestview Hotel finally broke ground in August. None of the social tensions reported earlier in the year were on display, as officials convened on the site to tout its transformation into a 49-unit permanent supportive housing development.
Read the full article here.
Posted in: News